Cyberattack in Ukraine fuels tensions with Moscow

Ukraine affirmed, Sunday January 16, to have “evidence” of Russia’s involvement in the massive cyberattack that targeted several government sites on the night of January 13 to 14. “To date, all the evidence points to Russia being behind the cyberattack”, said the Ministry of Digital Transformation, without further details. This sabotage “is a manifestation of the Hybrid War that Russia has been waging against Ukraine since 2014”, date of the annexation of Crimea by Moscow and the beginning of the conflict in the Donbass with the pro-Russian separatists.

The objective is “not only to intimidate society”, but also of “destabilize the situation in Ukraine” in “undermining the confidence of Ukrainians in their power” with those “false information on the vulnerability of state IT structures” and on the “leakage of personal data of Ukrainians”, denounces the ministry. So far, Kiev has not directly accused Russia of being behind the attack, but has made it clear that it suspects it. For its part, Moscow denies any involvement.

“Ukrainians! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore them. » The message, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish, appeared Thursday on several government sites, including those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, the State Emergency Service and the Ministry of Energy. Ukrainian authorities have denied any data theft. But the American computer giant Microsoft however warned, on Sunday January 16, that this cyberattack could make the entire computer structure of the Ukrainian government inoperable.

Read also Ukraine: cyberattack against government sites caused “no personal data leaks”, according to Kiev

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it turns out to be Russia”, reacted on Sunday the adviser to the American president for national security, Jake Sullivan. However, “We have not yet determined who is responsible for this attack”, he added, pointing out that the “key private companies” involved had not named the alleged perpetrators either. “We are working hard to determine that. If it turns out that it is Russia that is hitting Ukraine with cyberattacks and if this continues in the future, of course we will work with our allies on an adequate response”, he warned.

The United States has been warning for months about the possibility of the Russians using such hacks to fuel “escalation in Ukraine”. “It is part of their strategy, they have done it in the past in other contexts”, recalled Mr. Sullivan.

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